For those not in the know, DM of the Rings is a webcomic, of sorts, that attempts to answer the question “What if The Lord of the Rings was a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, populated by some standard stereotypical gamers?”
Hijinks, as you can imagine, ensue.
The comic isn’t drawn, but instead consists of exceptionally well-chosen screen shots from the movies, with appropriate dialogue added. But fair warning given – certain bits of dialogue may be forever altered in your memory, and watching the movies, or even reading the books, may never be the same.
This is a strip that is, in many ways, the king of in-jokes, being based on poking fun at obscure references to D&D rules, or reoccuring trends in roleplaying games, or merely specific cliches that developed from Tolkien’s stories. Some aspects might be funny even if you aren’t a gamer, but there is definitely many jokes that will be hard to get. On the other hand, the fact that they are so specific to certain situations means that if you have been through those circumstances yourself, the jokes hit even more close to home.
Order of the Stick started out on a similar level, admittedly, and certainly proved there is an audience for this – but it also eventually transitioned into a story driven webcomic, which isn’t really an option here. There is a level of plot revolving around the players of the game and their actions and personalities – but it largely has to give way to the plot of the game that the characters are being run through, which it self is merely a delivery mechanism for the jokes.
Still, Shamus Young has been managing to successfully deliver those laughs for well over a hundred strips – and while this is unfortunately a comic with a finite life span, it is one that has managed to do a remarkable job of keeping its initial momentum going strong.
Even with all the other webcomics out there, I can’t really think of any other quite like this one. Irregular Webcomic is the closest that comes to mind, but while it has a lot of similarities, it comes in smaller and more general doses that don’t have the same impact. When DM of the Rings does wrap up, I can already see the void it will leave behind – which is a pretty good sign of a legacy right there.